Illumitex raises $13.5M for LED lighting

While we’re all waiting for efficient LED lighting to one day become mainstream, venture capitalists are continuing to back LED innovation. LED chip maker startup Illumitex has raised another $13.52 million in equity, according to a government filing on Monday.

Illumitex is looking to raise $25.23 million in total in this round, and has closed $13.5 million of that. Investors listed on Illumitex’s filing include Dan Watkins at DFJ Mercury, and Forest Baskett and Jimmy Treybig at New Enterprise Associates. New Enterprise Associates and DFJ previously invested in Illumitex.

The Austin, Texas company, founded in 2005, publicized a $10.5 million B round back in 2008, and last December raised $3.4 million in debt and options, according to this filing. In October 2009, Illumitex also got $4.3 million in equity in a total $10 million round, according to an SEC filing. That year also happened to be the time when financial market meltdown crippled fundraising activities and the overall cleantech market.

Illumitex develops LED chips and assembles them into modules that will be built into light bulbs and installations. The company is targeting the general lighting market as well as lighting designs that accentuate architectural buildings and lighting designs that can help plants grow in greenhouses.

The startup says it’s been able to shrink the number of components in its LEDs by forgoing the use of secondary optics that lead to the dome shape devices commonly found in other LEDs. In addition, the company has been able to develop LED chips that can still emit bright and precisely aimed beams in smaller packages, while the smaller package saves space and allows lighting system makers to squeeze more of them into an installation.

Illumitex announced several new products earlier this year, but it remains to be seen whether it’s able to win large customer orders to continue in a market where competition has intensified, particularly from Asian manufacturers. Although the price for LED lights has declined, it hasn’t fallen quick enough for mass adoption.

The LED lighting market hasn’t grown as quickly as some investors and tech developers have hoped. Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda, told Reuters (s tri) Monday that the payback period for LED lighting systems still remains too long. Cree develops LEDs and packages them into bulbs.

Photo courtesy of Illumitex